Page 2730 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 16 August 2005

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I think it is important that we note that our capacity to capture and treat water is, however, at the highest it has ever been. That is as a result of fantastic work that Actew and ActewAGL have undertaken over the last 18 months in the upgrading of the water treatment plants at both Googong and Mount Stromlo for an investment in the order of $60 million. As a result of that upgraded capacity we can now treat water that until then we simply did not have the capacity to treat, which means we can now again take water from the Cotter Dam. We have also placed a pump in a sump which was constructed for the purpose in the Murrumbidgee River. We have not at this stage sourced water from the Murrumbidgee River but, if required to do so, we could now do that.

The latest of the projects that ActewAGL has embarked upon is, of course, the construction of an enhanced reticulation system from the Cotter system to the Googong Dam so that we can transfer water from that catchment, which is performing particularly well, to the Googong Dam to provide for a greater level of water security for the ACT through a capacity to utilise Googong Dam as a major water storage.

MR GENTLEMAN: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, on the progress of the ACTEW project to transfer water from the Cotter catchment to the Googong reservoir, what are the likely implications for future water restrictions?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Gentleman. I did touch briefly on the reticulation system. Once again, it is a great piece of lateral thinking and engineering by Actew and ActewAGL around dealing with the issue of our catchment and our water supply. As I just indicated, we are in a situation now where our Cotter dams are performing particularly well, with Cotter and Bendora essentially full. Corin, a fairly large dam, is on 78 per cent but Googong is on 37 per cent. Through a reticulation system, accepting that we have pipes connecting the Cotter dams to the Googong Dam, because we of course alternate between the dams, the whole of the Canberra system is essentially connected. As a consequence, we now have a capacity to transfer water from the Cotter system to the Googong Dam. That system commenced last week.

At this stage, 20 megalitres a day is being pumped from one system to the other so that that excess water can be stored in the Googong Dam. Of course, and it does not need to be said, in making these arrangements, we have taken full notice of our environmental flow requirements and the transfer of that water certainly does not impinge on them, nor will the transfer of up to 150 megalitres of water a day from the Cotter system to the Googong. We hope that will commence in the next eight to 10 weeks, when ActewAGL completes the installation of a major new pipe bypassing the treatment works at Googong. That will allow us to increase the daily transfer of 20 megalitres to 150 megalitres a day. It is interesting to note that that 150 megalitres, over the space of a year, averages out at our average daily annual consumption. It is about 110 in winter and gets up to over 200 in summer.

With that 150-megalitre capacity, we do have an enormous opportunity to enhance Googong or keep the Googong Dam reasonably full. In fact, Actew, on its predictions and modellings, believes that within three years, even if it did not rain within the Googong catchment again, we could maintain the Googong Dam at about 85 per cent of capacity. Acknowledging that Googong constitutes about two-thirds of our overall storage capacity, that is particularly significant. The consequence is that this allows us to

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